Explain this, Mr. Erdogan: Israel-Turkey trade ties booming amidst Gaza crisis
While calls increase on the government to review Turkey's trade relations with Israel in response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, figures reveal that business ties with the Israeli state boomed over the past year.
Figures from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) reveal that Turkey's mutual trade volume with Israel increased to $5 billion from $3.4 billion in 2008, and the size is expected to grow even bigger this year.
During the first six months of 2013, Israel was Turkey's 24th-largest export partner, while during the same period this year it moved up to the 17th spot. Total exports to Israel increased 23 percent on a year-to-year basis. Imports from Israel have also increased significantly since last year, accelerating 27 percent during the first five months of 2014 year-to-year.
According to Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who spoke to journalists earlier this month, 2013 was a record-breaking year for trade between Turkey and Israel. He said that exports from Israel have continued to increase, rising 25 percent during the first four months of 2014 year-to-year. Bennett said imports from Turkey also increased 21 percent in the same period and that 2014 is likely to be another record-breaking year if trends continue.
Seventy percent of Israel's exports to Turkey are chemical products, while rubber products and electrical equipment accounted for another 15.5 percent, according to Ehud Cohen, head of the Foreign Trade Desk of the Israel Economy Ministry, answering journalists' questions earlier this month.
Israel's main imports from Turkey were plastic, rubber, minerals, textiles, concrete, ceramics and glass machinery.
Unions call for end to Gaza blockade
“Israel's attacks on Gaza and the ground strike that was launched yesterday evening has resulted in civilian deaths. Women and children have lost their lives. The world must react to this. Turkey is doing what it can to stop the bloodshed. I hope that the atrocities in Gaza come to an end as soon as possible. As the İstanbul Exporters Union [İİB], we are ready to send any kind of material and spiritual support to Gaza,” said İİB Coordinating President Zekeriya Mete in a statement on Friday.
According to a statement released by the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) on Friday, Israel is subjecting Gaza to a cruel economic embargo, which disrupts the entry of first-aid materials and other basic needs.